I received a recent case call from a woman injured at an “Airbnb” who fell down the stairs at the house she rented. She suffered serious injuries and the question then became whether or not the property was properly insured. Airbnb has become wildly popular and every year more people choose to use them as a vacation destination, rather than visit hotels. You need to know here if you suffer an injury while visiting.
What is Airbnb and What are the Responsibilities of the Host
“Airbnb” is short for Air Bed and Breakfast a service that lets property owners rent out their spaces to travelers looking for a place to stay. Travelers can rent a space for multiple people to share, a shared space with private rooms, or the entire property for themselves.
If a person wants to rent their property on Airbnb, there is a simple online application process and once accepted, the owner/operator of the property is considered an Airbnb host. Airbnb makes it very clear that in the relationship between the host and Airbnb, Airbnb is simply the advertiser and has no responsibility for injuries or property damage and the host is 100% liable if an injury occurs or the home is damaged.
Proper Insurance Coverage for Airbnb Use
When a person owns a home and uses it to live, they protect their property and possessions with homeowners insurance – it covers fires, theft, floods, and injuries, among other things and the coverage extends to their guests. For instance, if I own a home and a friend stops over for dinner and falls down the stairs, then my friend can put a claim through my homeowner’s policy.
In contrast, when you rent out your house or a part of your house, through an entity like Airbnb, you are now operating your home as a business. When you go this route, you are increasing daily foot traffic in the home, which creates more risk that someone will get hurt or property will be destroyed. Insurance companies aren’t stupid – they are in business to make money. So, if they see heavier foot traffic, they expect you to pay more insurance premiums to get proper protection. As a result, the only way to cover all your exposure and get comprehensive Airbnb host insurance is to purchase homeowner’s insurance, landlord insurance, and business insurance. You can do this in the following ways:
– A homeowner can contact his homeowner’s carrier and add additional endorsements and/or separate coverage to handle the business aspect of his property;
– Airbnb offers its own insurance, called Airbnb Host Protection Insurance – this is an insurance policy that Airbnb extends to hosts for a prince. The insurance pays out up to $1 million to the injured person when a guest gets hurt during a stay. If you suffer a straightforward accident, like a fall, this policy is fine, but upon review, the policy has several gaps that leave the owner/host vulnerable and unprotected. Also, you will not be able to collect more than $1 million if you suffer devastating injuries;
– A third option is to go out and find an insurance policy designed specifically for rental properties to supplement your homeowner’s insurance. This option is typically best because it doesn’t just cover and protect your house, but it also covers amenities such as swimming pools, hot tubs, bicycles, alcohol-related claims, bed bug incidents, mold-related claims, and even provides the owner with lost business income if the house is damaged and can’t be used.
Who Is Liable If I’m Hurt While Staying at an Airbnb?
If you’re hurt while staying at an Airbnb due to negligence, the property owner or host is responsible, as he is the person responsible for keeping the premises safe. For instance, if you lean on a handrail while visiting an Airbnb and it separates, causing you to fall down the stairs, then you have a valid negligence claim against the host. On the other hand, if you are drinking alcohol and fall and hit your head, that is likely not “negligence” on the owner’s behalf.
What Should I Do If I’m Hurt While Staying at an Airbnb?
If you’re hurt while staying at an Airbnb, you should do the following:
- seek medical attention. Getting medical care right away links the time of the accident to your stay at the Airbnb;
- take lots of photos of the accident scene, as you may not get a chance again;
- notify the property owner and Airbnb Host Protection Insurance and inform them you were hurt as a result of negligence;
- and call an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that you determine the fair value for your injuries.
Contact Our New York Premises Attorneys
If you were hurt at an Airbnb, you deserve top dollar for your claim. Our New York Premises or Airbnb accident attorneys can help you get fair compensation for your claim.